Have you ever wanted to interview an angel? Melody Angel agreed to answer a few questions, provided she wasn't asked to reveal too many heavenly secrets, so today I'd like to introduce you to the enigmatic Melody Angel.
Interview with Melody Angel
Welcome. Can you please state your name, in case anyone doesn’t recognise you?
Very few people know me. I’m Melody Angel, but I prefer to be called Mel, please.
Okay, Mel. Now, you're one of the main characters in Demelza Carlton's Mel Goes to Hell series. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Well, the Helpful Angels Agency needed someone to fill a position at the HELL Corporation, so they asked me if I could assist. I like to help, so I agreed. The work is…challenging, but also fascinating. I've never worked for an organisation like this before and I learn more about my colleagues every day.
Is there anyone in particular who stands out?
Well, there's my immediate superior, Lili. She seems to handle a variety of projects and she's only too happy to pass some of the more interesting ones on to me. She works closely with the CEO, Luce Iblis, a very unusual man.
What can you tell me about him?
Not a great deal. Between the fancy shoes and clothes – always black, and never the same shirt twice – I'd expect him to be suave and confident, but he comes across as lonely and desperate. Not the successful businessman he portrays at all. At the staff orientation, he stayed for coffee and no one seemed to want to talk to him. It was almost as if everyone was afraid of him.
Why were you afraid of him?
Me? Oh Hell no. I felt sorry for the poor man. He's not an easy man to talk to – I mean, at first everything he said was sleazy, obnoxious or completely untrue, but the longer you speak to him, the more he tells you about himself, whether he means to or not. I feel there's more to him than most people say and I admit I'm intrigued by him.
What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?
I try to smile and be friendly. There's no need to be horrible.
So what do you think Mr Iblis thought of you when you first met?
He made it very clear that he liked what he saw. What he was thinking? I think you'd need to ask him that.
How about after they've known you for a while? What do they think of you then?
I would hope most people find me helpful. I try to be.
Have you ever been in love? Or ever had your heart broken?
I try to love most people, though in a more platonic way than the one you're referring to, I think. Very few people are so completely unlovable that I don't feel some love toward them.
But if you're talking about that feeling that starts with the body but transcends your body, your mind and maybe even your soul, where you experience an intimate connection with another soul that's so intense it feels like the two of you are the only people in the universe and that universe will end if you're separated… Where you trust that one person with your innermost thoughts and desires, as they trust you with theirs so that you're both so intertwined it's as if you shared one soul in two bodies… I've heard of it and I've seen my family and friends succumb to it, but it's not something I have ever experienced. I live in hope, though. There might be someone out there whose soul is akin to mine.
So you haven't been in love and you've never had your heart broken, either?
Heartbreak is when you see or experience something so sad it feels like something inside your chest has snapped. You don't have to be in love with someone for them to cause you heartbreak. I admit to being more soft-hearted than most, so for me to see anyone in pain is heartbreaking. Raphael says I'm too sympathetic for my own good, especially when it comes to strangers. My brother agrees with him.
Is he a close friend, this Raphael? Who would you say you're closest to?
Oh, no, Raphael is a friend, but more on a professional than a personal level. He's in charge of the Helpful Angels Agency, and I took this job as a favour to him. Yes, me and my soft-heartedness. I know.
I am closest to my friend Patrick. He lives in the UK and we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like, as we're both working so much. Yet when we meet again, it's like I never left, we mesh together so well. I can depend on him for anything.
But you're not in love with Patrick?
Patrick is my dearest and oldest friend. Of course I love him. If he needed me, I'd fly halfway round the world to help him and he'd do the same for me.
All right. What's your favourite scent?
Flowers. Liliums, narcissus, jacaranda, neroli, lemon blossom…and Australian bush after it's rained. There's something strange about Australian vegetation that it exudes a particular smell in times of high humidity, like just after it's rained. Magical.
Why? Why are those scents so important to you?
I work all over the world, or I did before I started working for the HELL Corporation. Flowers are a natural smell, so I know that wherever I am in the world, there is still some nature when I smell them. The Australian plants…when I'm not travelling, this is where I live, in an area where there is still some remnant native bush. To me, the smell means relaxation, because I'm not working and I get to rest. So the smell of the Australian bush is calming, I guess.
Do you have any secrets?
I don't think so. I'm fairly open about most things. If I do, they're probably a secret from me, too!
What's your favourite colour?
You know, I'm not sure. It depends on the day and it can change as the day progresses. I prefer lighter colours to dark ones, but they all have their place. I mean, even dark brown is the colour of luscious dark chocolate and black is the night sky, the backdrop behind millions of stars.
What makes you laugh out loud?
Joy. Pure, unadulterated joy. I laugh when I'm happy, but I also laugh when I'm embarrassed – when I've done something that deserves to be laughed at. If I've made a fool out of myself, then I will laugh right along with everyone else.
I like to laugh and I laugh often. It feels…liberating, somehow.
What's on your bedside table right now?
A book. A bottle of water. An alarm clock and bedside lamp. Perhaps a little dust I haven't had time to clean, as I've been a bit busy lately and fallen behind on my housework. Hopefully I'll find time to fix that on the weekend.
Oh, possibly the neighbour's kitten, too. It's been getting into my house some days and I haven't the heart to kick the little thing out. He curls up and falls asleep in the strangest places. I find him on the desk shelf, curled around my alarm clock, between the cushions…and he's so tiny I'm scared I'll squish him by accident.
Would you believe I don't know? I read so many, it'll be whichever paperback I'm reading at home. I tend to read lots of ebooks on my phone, but in bed it has to be a paperback. I'm a little old-fashioned like that.
If you were doing your own spring cleaning, what would be the most difficult thing for you to throw out?
I'm really not sure. I actually have very little, as I travel so much. Maybe…anything that's still useful. Like, I still have one of those huge analogue TVs, not one of the flatscreen things. I have it because it still works, so I can't bring myself to throw it out and replace it, when it's unnecessary.
What is your greatest fear?
Oh, you're going to laugh at me. I'm terrified of public speaking. I know, I know – this is public speaking, because it's an interview and everything, but as long as it's just us talking, I'm okay. But if I have to get up in front of a group of people – even people I know really well – I get horribly nervous with the worst case of stage fright. My legs feel all wobbly and I've fallen to my knees a few times. My voice just sort of dies to a rustling squeak, like a tiny, frightened mouse.
It's all right. A lot of people are afraid of public speaking. How about we shift to a different question. When and where were you the happiest?
Oh, that's so hard to say! I'm happy for a good part of every day and the smallest thing can make my day. Like, yesterday, a man gave up his seat on the train for me. That made my day. Or I got a particularly delicious sandwich for lunch. Or I got a free yoghurt this morning from some lovely people who were handing out free samples outside the train station. Honey and macadamia, I think.
A free yoghurt makes you happiest?
Are you making fun of me? Small things bring me joy and every day is filled with so many happy moments that I can't pick one that has made me the happiest overall. Perhaps I'm just easier to please than most.
What do you like best about yourself?
I honestly don't know how to answer this one. I can't think of much that I dislike about myself, but no one thing I like most.
What do you want most out of life?
To be able to help as much as I can.
But what do you really want?
Right this minute, I'm thinking about a lovely cup of my favourite tea and possibly some chocolate. So that's what I really, really want, but it's all right if I don't get them. Dinner is only a few hours away and I intend to cook something nice.
Okay. Say you're using one of your work colleagues for something…what would it be?
Using them? Oh, that's not how I'd put it. If I were using someone – anyone – it would only be for their benefit. I'd say more cooperating or working together.
So if you were cooperating or working with someone, say the CEO, Luce Iblis, what would your end goal be?
Luce? Oh…well, it depends on a lot of factors. I could be working with him to improve morale and productivity in his corporation. Or something more personal, like sharing a coffee with him as I listen to him, because he has no other way to overcome his loneliness.
I work for him. I'm engaged in various projects that I believe he entrusted to Lili, my boss, who delegated them to me. So he's using me to get work done. No more than any other staff member.
How do you feel about that?
Working for him? Or being treated the same as his permanent staff? Working for him is interesting. It's kind of him to treat me like his other staff, despite the temporary nature of my employment.
Even though we hope he'll never do it, for now just pretend it could happen: What's the worst thing Mr Iblis could do to you?
He could terminate my employment. And I'd find another job.
That's the worst thing he could do to you? Why would it be so bad?
It wouldn't be so bad. It's just a job. I'm doing this as a favour to Raphael – I would understand if Mr Iblis decided I was surplus to his corporation's requirements. Given the current economic climate, as a temporary staff member, I'd deserve it.
Why would you deserve it?
Well, permanent staff depend on the security of their job. Mine has no security, so I don't see that I could really protest if it were to be taken away. Perhaps I deserve to go back to my previous employment and not work at the HELL Corporation at all.
What's the worst thing you could do to him?
There are probably a lot of things – and I wouldn't do any of them.
Can you name one?
I…I could hurt him. He's sad and lonely enough that if I were to suddenly desert him, his emotional state might deteriorate because he'd be hurt by my desertion. Though I'm sure he has plenty of far more appropriate people who could take my place if I did. It might be best if I did.
Why would it be best?
I'm not the sort of person who should really be working in the HELL Corporation. My experience and qualifications lie in very different areas to both Luce and the corporation's goals and the longer I stay, the greater the likelihood that someone will see this…or that I'll make changes without even meaning to. Raphael would be happy, too. I think he regrets asking me to take this job.
What is your greatest regret?
I don't have any. I make my decisions, both good and bad, hoping for the best. And I always will. Mistakes are to be learned from, not regretted, if we want to move forward.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A lovely meal in good company, in a pretty place that's close to nature.
When and where did you last experience this?
About an hour ago, during my lunch break. I bought a delicious Turkish bread from the café downstairs and hiked up to Kings Park to meet my cousin for lunch. She's so excited about her daughter's new job and all the opportunities it offers.
All right. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Something I've never experienced and hope that, if I recognised it in someone else, I could help them rise from it. I could never see that sort of despair without wanting to help in any way I can.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Hmm…I would hope that my greatest achievement is something I still haven't done yet. Not that anything I've done so far isn't worth celebrating – and I usually do, with a nice glass of something alcoholic – but I want something to aspire to. If I've already achieved the greatest thing I'll ever do then everything else would be dull in comparison and I would stop striving. I'm not perfect – I can be better, and I hope my future achievements will reflect that.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Oh, now you'll laugh at me. It's tea. I try to spend as little money as I can on luxuries, but there's this tea shop that sells so many blends – and not just tea, either. Herbal and flower tisanes, fruit tea…oh, it's wonderful. Like some ancient herbalist's wares, all boxed up in modern metal and plastic. Speaking of which, it's about that time. Would you like a cup? My favourite at the moment is a Japanese green blend with strawberries.
Perhaps another time. Thank you for your time today, Mel, and good luck with the HELL Corporation.
If you'd like to know more in the Mel Goes to Hell series, where Mel is a very important character…you can check out the books HERE.